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The Tale of Genji and Akiko Yosano


Yosano Akiko's Poems: In Praise of "The Tale of Genji" Author(s): Yosano Akiko and G. G. Rowley Source: Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 56, No. 4 (Winter, 2001), pp. 439-486 Published by: Sophia University Stable URL: . Accessed: 24/04/2013 13:32Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .

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Yosano Akiko's Poems "In Praise of The Tale of Genji"G. G. ROWLEY

moreshadow thanhumanin form, An indistinct appeared figure, in thedreamof a certainperson."Who is it?" thedreamerasked. "I am Murasaki Shikibu.Because I assembled such a pack of lies I have been cast intohell and led theheartsof myreadersastray, and thepain is morethanI can bear. So as to relievemyanguish, prayhave people compose poems on each and everychapterof The Tale of Genji, includingin them the name and the chant 'Namo Amida Butsu.'" Whereupon the dreamer asked, "Just how should one go about composingsuch poems?" She replied: Kiritsuboni / mayowanyami mo / haru bakari namo Amida Butsu to / tsuneni iwanan To dispel thisdarknessin whichI wanderin thePaulownia Court "Praise to Amida Buddha." praychantperpetually Ima monogatari,c. 1239 / Genji no makino / na ni arishi hashikeyashi mono nomiharu wa / katawara ni suru thenames of itschapters Beloved Genji: thatwhichlay within in thespring of thisNew Year I make my sole companions. 1920 Yosano Akiko, January OMETIMEbefore 1919, Yosano Akiko 4-SM? (1878-1942) paid a visit and to the Kansai railway, real estate,entertainment, departmentstoremagnate Kobayashi Ichizo /\4t,- (1873-1957). On this occasion, he showed her a pair of folding screens fromhis collection, on which were mounted fiftyShe wishes to thank at Waseda University. teachesEnglishand Japaneseliterature THE AUTHOR of and JoshuaS. Mostow of theUniversity of HarvardUniversity Edwin A. Cranston Professors of thepresent to an earlierdraft and generouscorrections British Columbia fortheir painstaking formuch-needed Goto Shoko &g:fW of JapanWomen's University help in essay, Professor Haruki Professor Tale Ii The and Akiko's between the ofGenji, poems understanding relationships


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Monumenta Nipponica 56:4

in thehandof Ueda Akinari?:EB3c1'(1734-1809).1 On every fourtanzaku Hfff was a of Genji monogatari. tanzaku poem,one foreach chapter Akikolaterwrote to Kobayashiconcerning some Genjipoemsofherownthat she was sendingto him.This letter, dated25 January sur1920, is theprincipal of of the of the evidence her screens and effect Akinari's Genji viving viewing in part: poems had on her.She writes I was envious I was fortunate that oftheAkinari tosee oncewhen Genjiscreens I calleduponyou, andthe desire onedaytoattempt the samemyself hasremained withme eversince.TowardtheendoflastyearI was urgently requested by a certain to make the into the morn[of person chapters Genji] poems; by fifty-four I hadatlastfinished I haverevised thirtieth them. Sincethen composing ingofthe toperfect oftimes, insofar as possible andsince them them, anynumber striving I am nowreasonably itwouldnotbe an embarrassment to show confident that in offer own to the that them to you,I humbly Genjipoems you, my hope you willbe so goodas to acceptthem... I shallnot be regarded anantiquarian them. Sincethese canonly whim, publish I humbly them manaskyoutobe so goodas topoint outwhen myunpublished are collected ...2 posthumously uscripts It is notcertain whenAkikoactuallysaw theAkinariGenji screens-her refto Kobayashicitedabove reads simplysennenukagai sor6 erencein theletter h setsu Ytq 5 7 {i-t'fi', "in a previousyearwhenI called upon you"-but the behindthe letter does allow us to pinpoint preciselythe source of inspiration of her own "Envious" 5 (urayamashiku 6 t Lb < ) Genji poems. composition Akiko decided to of Akinari'sfifty-four compose a set of herown. She poems, of 1919. Inscribed on squaresofheavypaper setin thesummer herfirst produced and (later?) mountedto forman album, they were given to (shikishif) with MasumuneAtsuo iEA (1881-1958), thescholarof Japaneseliteratureforkindly a visitto theItsuoArtMuseum ~ ?jkfifin {Vt#1t of Osaka University arranging Professor Okada Akiko IFfl] March2001, themuseum'sdirector, Vff, forgraciously allowingus inthemuseum'scollection, andProfessor toviewtheUeda Akinari screens I? MBJM Genjifolding forsharing her scholarship so unstintMiyakawa Yoko gJl[ft of ShukutokuAd University ingly. 1 Kobayashipioneeredthenow widespread of private in whicha railwaydevelopment pattern an urbancenter from intothenearby to encourageuse of that rail line is constructed countryside; and at theterminus a department suburbs, line,ruralland alongsideit is developedas residential theTakarazukaShojo storeis built.In 1914, withthesame aim in mind,Kobayashialso founded theTakarazukaAll Girls' Revue, at theend of one spurof his burKagekidan T.>I~ tJlk], see Gendai Nihonasahi jingeoningsystem.For briefaccountsof Kobayashi's achievements, butsujiten, p. 674; and Takechi 1981. of stiff Tanzakuare long,narrow strips paperon whichpoems are inscribed. Kobayashi's collection,includingthe AkinariGenji screens,is housed in theItsuo ArtMuseum in the townof Ikeda on thewestern edge of Osaka-fu.The screensare describedin Asano 1969,p. 398; and the exhibition catalogue Kobayashi Ichizo no me, pp. 51, 83. For thepoems, see Asano 1969, pp. 261-69; and Tsuzurabumi, pp. 377-87. 2 Letterin the collection of the Hankya Gakuen Ikeda Bunko Iilfl] cited in IEB5Z*J, Ichikawa 1992, p. 50 (also includedin Ichikawa 1998). The fulltextof theletter may now be foundin Yosano HiroshiAkikoshokanshusei,vol. 2, pp. 57-58 (no. 87).

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Yosano Akiko's Poems


HiroshiA (1873-1935), wereto collaboratedurwhomAkikoand herhusband, seriesof worksof koten the Nihon in the 1920s zensha El*WN5 editing ing theendofDecember defined.3 classicalJapanese Then,toward literature, broadly The immeof thatsame year,1919, Akikorevisedthepoems fora commission. Akiko's second ofthissetis described diateoccasion ofthecomposition son, by En naki tokei in his memoir Yosano Shigeru A (1904-1971), Rtcfs i\t(A Doomed Timepiece),wherehe recallshow TakitaChoin Aifflit (1882-1925), house and editorof Chuo koron+9;'R magazine,came to theYosano family thepoems. commissioned TakitaChoinof theendoftheyear, 1918or 1919 ... [T]owards Itwas perhaps visited before hehadoften house.Ofcourse cametothe Chaokoron then, always with a but in a he arrived this time a chatwith for rickshaw, folding myparents; to write hisknees.... He had cometo ask mymother screen wedgedbetween and he would of the for each of screen a this chapters Genji, fifty-four poem upon on the As ever, mother took twodayslater. itin theevening cometo fetch my demur. without job thedaybecauseitwas New Year's Eve. As usual,TakitaWell,I shan't forget to thesecondfloor ... and whenhe had beenshown in a rickshaw san arrived them "I'll mother ofourcramped now,so I hope said, house,my beginwriting she me and with that mind for a won't bit," apology got tomakethe waiting you disa little Takita-san written them ink."You haven't murmured, looking yet?" I've finished until but at last me "It's taken them," now, composing appointed. herwords caretheairofhaving chosen andwith saidapologetically, mymother new book. a exercise she fully, opened was shocked. Takita-san "Madam,youmeanto sayyou'vecomposed poems that rude ofme! I had assumed Dear,how youof all peoplewould especially? havesomeGenjipoems."4 already in part 1920 letterto Kobayashi Ichizo, translated From Akiko's January thissecondversionofthesequence by the above, we knowthatshe had finished Akiko describesherGenji poems In her 1919.5 of December 30 letter, morning konomiA)J, whim"(hitonofurukigoto a as no morethanan "antiquarian Later she them. of LfY-) and statesclearlythatshe has no intention publishing Her butforthetimebeingthepoems wereusefulgifts. would changehermind, her the of increase value would to of the of a set poems Kobayashi presentation workas objetsd'artby placingitin thepossessionof a notedcollector.She also gave sets to Kobayashi Yfko /\JttF, wifeof KobayashiTenmin)UN (1877oftheYosanos, as well wholesalerand life-long 1956), an Osaka blanket patron3 Ichikawa 1998, pp. 254-59. On theNihonkotenzenshuproject,see Yosano et al. 1925, pp. 130-31; Shinma 1976, pp. 2-3; and Rowley 2000, pp. 144-46. 4 Yosano 1948, pp. 210-13. 5 The second 7Qkf a poem first to thisarticle, publishedin Osaka mainichishinbun epigraph thisperiod.The withthepoems during to herinvolvement HB iTU on 6 January 1920, also testifies Osaka mainichipoem is collectedin TYAZ 4, p. 455.

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Monumenta Nipponica 56:4

screens with attached tanofa pairofsix-fold 1. Section Figure of The Tale of Genjiby Ueda zaku of poemson thechapters "Hana no en" poem,disin his own hand.Akinari's Akinari, Ink